Flourless Chocolate Cakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


Yesterday was my husband’s 39th birthday. The poor, poor man. Not only does his birthday come just after Christmas, but he is the last of a multitude of family members to have a December birthday. By the time his natal day rolls around, we are utterly exhausted. We are partied out, we are gifted out, and we are fooded out. It is difficult to make his day special, because even he doesn’t really feel like doing much. In fact, for the last two years, we have spent his birthday traipsing around IKEA, which actually isn’t a bad way to spend your day (especially if you go for breakfast!). Next year will be his 40th birthday and I am determined to find a way to do something special for him. He may or may not read this post, so that’s all I am going to say about that.

Having done my best to stay relatively low carb through the holidays, the idea of making a special birthday treat wasn’t quite as repulsive as it has been in years past. (I know it’s shocking to say that making a cake or a sweet could ever be repulsive, but just after Christmas when you’ve had your fill of cookies, cakes and candies, it actually can be.) So I had it in my head to make something to bake his day a bit more special. I was actually thinking of ice cream cake, for the simplicity of buying a carton of ice-cream, softening it and then smooshing it into a cake pan. Yes, I suppose I could have made the ice cream, but that would be too much work just after Christmas.

Then these pretty little things caught my eye on Stumble Upon and turned my head away from ice cream cake entirely. Dense, rich, miniature flourless chocolate cakes. And since they were already flourless, I was pretty sure I could make them low carb as well, without any loss of flavour. The ones from La Mia Vita Dolce were made with almond flour, which I have on hand at all times now. But something about the way she said that the almond flour imparted a slightly nutty taste got me thinking about the bag of peanut flour I recently picked up at Trader Joe’s. Why not play up the nuttiness of the flour itself? There’s nothing better than peanut butter and chocolate, so why not make it with peanut flour, and then enhance the flavour with a chocolate peanut butter ganache?

The Results: The substitution of peanut flour for almond flour wasn’t quite as simple as I thought it would be. The peanut flour is ground really, really fine and has a drier texture than I expected. I found I had to add some almond milk to get anything resembling a workable batter. But once I did, I could hardly keep myself from eating all of it raw, it was so tasty! I could only hope that the cakes would be as good as the batter was.

And, thank goodness, they were. These are incredibly rich, dense morsels of an almost fudge-like consistency. They are small, to be sure, but you really don’t want them to be any bigger. My older kids both really liked them but neither finished more than half of what was on their plate. The baby went wild over it, and had a fit when I cut her off. I myself was extremely full after eating mine. In fact, I got 7 little cakes out of the batter, but next time I would divvy it up even further, making 8 or 9 little cakes instead.

The only other thing I might change, although I really loved these as they were, is to add some peanut butter to the actual batter to up the PB flavour. As it was, there was a lovely hint of it in the cake, but most of it came from the glaze so it was definitely subtle. But with the basic cake, there are so many ways you could flavour this…mocha, mint chocolate, hazelnut, whatever suits your mood. I will definitely be making these again!

Flourless Chocolate Cakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganacheadapted from La Mia Vita Dolce

6 tbsp butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp liquid stevia extract (depending on how sweet you like it)
1/2 cup peanut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
1/2 cup almond milk (or whole milk or cream)

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 oz good quality dark chocolate (such as Lindt 85%) OR Lily’s Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate

For the cakes, preheat the oven to 280F and grease 8 (or more) cups of a regular muffin pan.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and chocolate together over low heat and stir until smooth. Add erythritol and liquid splenda and stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut flour and cocao, breaking up clumps with the back of a fork. Add the chocolate mixture and stir to combine (will be very thick). Stir in eggs, one at a time, and then almond milk until mixture thins out somewhat and becomes a smooth batter.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Because the batter is quite thick, you will need to press the batter into the cups using the back of a spoon. Smooth the tops.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cakes are just set and the middle is firm to the touch. Allow to cool in the tins, then flip out onto plates for serving.

For the glaze, melt butter, peanut butter and chocolate together in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until smooth. Spoon over cakes and sprinkle with chopped peanuts for garnish. You can serve immediately, with the glaze still warm or let it set.

Makes 8 (or more). Each serving has 12.95 g of carbs and 5.87 g of fiber. Total  NET CARBS = 7.08 g.

Food energy: 252kcal

Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 2.92g
Total fat: 20.43g
Calories from fat: 183
Cholesterol: 73mg
Carbohydrate: 12.95g
Total dietary fiber: 5.87g
Protein: 11.27g

Sodium: 127mg

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  1. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says

    Sounds awesome! I love the idea of using peanut flour.
    I have a post Christmas birthday too (today, actually), it's not the best time. The last couple of years I've pushed the celebration to mid January just to give people a break.
    I'm now thinking of taking a trip to ikea and reading some swedish books today!

  2. Jeanine says

    Oh my word, Carolyn…that looks AMAZING! Ain't nothing wrong with the chocolate & peanut butter combo here. :)
    Happy belated birthday to your husband! :)

  3. Scarletta @ Scarletta Bakes says

    Absolutely gorgeous. I am drooling!

    And I totally feel for your husband – my birthday is in January and I always felt cheated as a child – I can only imagine that having a birthday between Christmas and New Years Eve would be less than ideal.

    Happy Birthday to him! Keep the awesome recipes and photographs coming!

  4. She's Cookin' says

    You and your creations are amazing! I think you succeeded in making your husband's birthday special, what did he think?

  5. rosanna says

    Mmmm, how I love this, it looks so terrific!!!!!! REally love the look of it and having read he recipe I love the ingredients. Take for granted I'll try this recipe one of these days.
    Congratulations to your husband. I see how difficult it really is to make something special for him. But anyway next year you HAVE TO do it!
    Have a nice eve and a really good new year.

  6. Sandra says

    What a amazing looking cake!!!Yum!!!
    Let me predict:))one more top 9 😀
    Happy New Year my friend..and best wishes to you and your family!!!:)

  7. Sommer J says

    Looks absolutely delicious!!! It looks likes you made the day incredible special for him with that cake. It looks amazing! My husband would love the addition of PB to the batter, but especially mint!!!

    Where do you purchase your flours?

  8. Ang says

    Carolyn this is gorgeous. I love lava cake, but this is a great alternative. I just want to swipe my finger on that plate with the pool of goodness. WOW! Great job!

  9. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says

    OH MY WORD do those cakes look incredible and beautiful! I swear everything you make is gorgeous. If I wasn't allergic to peanuts I'd eat every single one. Mmmm the ganache is just calling my name. :)

  10. Green Girl @ A little bit of everything says

    Happy Birthday to your husband.

    stopped by to say that the cranberry bliss bars I made turned out perfect, way much better than the Starbucks ones.
    actually wanted to say more but seeing your mini chocolate cake I lost my words and i think I even swallowed my tongue. love the ganache running down the sides.
    oh, I'm going to reach 300 lbs by 2012 :)))

    Happy New Year

  11. Tessie of Germany says

    That looks awesome! My husband keeps asking me what is the next thing you have for me to try ever since the gingerbread pancakes lol I think I found it!

  12. Sugar Free Low Carb says

    These look perfect. I've also found that peanut flour requires adding more liquid and doesn't have much of a PB flavor.

  13. Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food says

    These cakes are dreamy indeed, Carolyn! Your original notion of subbing peanut for almond flour and then your follow-up idea of adding peanut butter to the mix sound so very smart and delicious. I love what you've done with this recipe!

  14. sara @ CaffeIna says

    you are actually right! I do feel I have had way too many cookies for example. But a flourless cakes…well I guess I could deal with it hehe. I'm not a chocolate lover but my hubby is and his birthday is coming soon so I have to try this one!

  15. Kate @ Diethood.com says

    My birthday is on Jan. 20th and people, including me, are still too tired to do anything – as you said gifted out, partied out. So I can relate to your husband! I hope he still enjoyed his day – Happy Birthday to him!
    And I love your cake – looks delicious!

  16. Joanne says

    Your poor husband! I always thank the lord that my birthday is far enough away from Christmas (I'm a February baby) that people are ready to eat cake again!

    Chocolate and peanut butter are a total dream together and these sound absolutely fantastic!

  17. briarrose says

    What a lovely treat. I hope he had a lovely birthday. 😉 This would certainly make it extra special in my opinion.

  18. Christina says

    Your poor husband! I feel his pain! My birthday falls in Thanksgiving week and everybody is running around like crazy gearing up for the holidays. My worst slight was a pumpkin pie in lieu of a birthday cake because they "forgot" :/ This cake is SO much better than THAT was so he's a lucky guy to have you watching out for him! :)

  19. Dawn says

    Hmmm,I'm thinking this would be a great recipe to use in the mini-muffin pan my husband and kids got me for Christmas.

  20. Emily Z says

    Yum, what a great way to combine chocolate and peanut butter… ALWAYS a delicious combination in my book! Happy New Year!

  21. Jeanette says

    These look gorgeous and I love the use of nut flour and nut milk in this recipe. I've never used erythritol before. Are there certain rules of thumb on how to substitute it in recipes? It sounds like a healthier alternative, but not sure how to use it. Thanks!

  22. Deeba PAB says

    These are gorgeous… they are stepping off the screen! Nut flour? YUM!! Happy belated birthday to your DH!! Am sure he enjoyed this beautiful treat! Well done!

  23. Liren says

    Aw, I can't think of a better birthday treat – it would certainly make *me* feel better if my birthday fell so close to Christmas! This looks positively decadent!

  24. Kimberly Peterson says

    Aaawwww your poor husband, lol. For next year though, maybe a very early 40th party OR a massive belated 40th party combined with New Year's Eve celebration. See I love planning parties, cannot help pinching in my two cents worth haha.

    I love the photos of your chocolate cake! Makes them look so bright and vivid I could eat it!

  25. Pegasuslegend says

    All I can say is I can't stop licking the screen are you kidding me ? Doing this to me at 7am in the morning omg this is amazing salivating ….I must try this! Happy New Year wonderful creation!

  26. TheFlavorJunkie says

    Carolyn, you delivered the goods once again. So delicious and impressive. Happy belated Birthday to your husband!

  27. TheFlavorJunkie says

    Carolyn, you delivered the goods once again. So delicious and impressive. Happy belated Birthday to your husband!

  28. Beth says

    What gorgeous little cakes! I know what you mean about holiday overload, but I could make an exception for these.

  29. Medifast Coupon says

    A low carb and gluten free dessert? This is a great reciepe, and chocolate with peanut butter is always a good combination!

  30. Tonya @ What's On My Plate says

    Great photos! One of my goals for the new year is to experiment more with allergen-free cooking and baking… this definitely fits the bill.

  31. Elisabeth says

    Carolyn-Another beauty of perfection, with low carb chocolatey goodness. The chocolate mini cake, and the ganache is absolue "heaven"
    Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

  32. sweetpeaskitchen.com says

    Oh wow!! Incredible! That peanut butter ganache is just begging to be licked off! Yummy!! Happy birthday to your hubby! :)

  33. Chef E says

    Oh man I am dreaming about this dessert! I came over via Enchanted Cook…now to go through your posts!

    Happy New Year!

  34. Sophie says

    Oooh Carolyn: what stunning & appetizing tasty treats!!

    They look just wonderful & amazing too!

    A Happy Birthday to your husband!! Yeah!

  35. El says

    The cake looks fantastic. Anything with chocolate and I'm hooked. Your poor husband though! I think I'd be inclined to celebrate his birthday in June next year!!

    I hope you and yours have a fantastic, love-filled 2011. Happy New Year!

  36. Kim - Liv Life says

    Carolyn, your photos are simply stunning! This is SO my type of dessert… rich ad chocolaty! Happy Birthday to your husband. We know what that is like, my mom's bday is lat Dec. too. But we always try to make a special birthday treat for her even though it is right after the holiday.

  37. Boulder Locavore says

    Carolyn these are gorgeous! I admire your stamina to keep going on the celebration front. We have a family bday shortly and it's always a haul after xmas! Your photos are incredible. I'm obsesses with light sources right now; did you take these by a window or do you augment? Fabulous!

  38. baking.serendipity says

    These look fantastic! I love that the cakes are baked in muffin tins…it makes for the perfect serving size! Happy birthday to your husband and wishing you both all the best in 2011 :)


    Wow, for exhausted, that is SOME cake! I would take for my birthday, or any other day for that matter! Happy 2011!

  40. Kristen says

    What a great way to celebrate a birthday. We have an after Christmas birthday in our house, too. I completely know what you mean about being partied out and having to scrounge to find a bit more extra celebratory spirit. It looks like you did so well! I am so intrigued with the nut flours you use. None of use have a need to go gluten free, so I have never used any.

  41. Ruby says

    Ha – I spent New Year's Day at Ikea. It was surprisingly not crowded and therefore bearable.

    This cake looks amazing and the photos are divine! Happy Birthday to your hubby and Happy New Year to all of you!

  42. Sandra says

    Well…let me tell you something, I just made your little masterpiece ..it does not look exactly like yours-it's look a like:)) but it was so, so, so good!

  43. The Mom Chef says

    That has to be one of the most beautiful chocolate things I've seen and I don't even like the stuff. The moistness pops out right through the screen. I'm going to go low carb just to make your sweets!

  44. Becky says

    Beautiful little cakes. Love the chocolate and peanut butter combo.
    An idea for Hubby's 40th.

    Have a surprise party for him at Halloween, or in November sometime. He would be soo surprised. We had a 40th b-day party for a friend whose B-day was the end of Nov at Halloween. She was so surprised!

  45. kaurandt says

    I made these today and frosted them with a vanilla version of your chocolate buttercream frosting (so my husband wouldn't freak out over the dark chocolaty-ness!) I made 12 to stretch out the carbs. SO rich and tasty! I have also made the p.b. ganache from this recipe and used it to drizzle over an almond flour cake. Yours is fast becoming my favorite low carb site to check in on! Thanks for terrific recipes!!

  46. Sara w says

    Love your website! It's definitely a fav! I made these today with 86% chocolate, put a tbs of pb in w/ the butter & chocolate per your suggestion. Used espresso instead of milk, hazelnut splenda, and 1/2tsp of cinnamon. I made them as mini cupcakes for portion control. They are absolute heaven! I have u to thank for never needing the "carb version" again!!

  47. Mighty Morgan says

    Today was the day I planned on going out and picking up ingredients for some of your recipes….but life stepped in with two sick kids and rainy/snowy mix of a day…so now I am just torturing myself reading through your recipe index….lol. Can't wait to try some of these out!!!!

  48. Catherine H. says

    These are one of the first of your recipes I ever made (about a year ago), and I loved them. I saved some of them in the freezer, and even though I had initially over-baked them by about five minutes, when I took them out of the freezer and re-warmed them, they were still delicious and moist! I am definitely coming back to these someday–but you keep putting that day off with your ever-growing archives and new posts that I can't resist trying first!

  49. Jennifer M says

    Protein Plus private labeled the Trader Joe's peanut flour. They don't sell directly from their website, but a link on there sends you to southerngracefarms.com.

  50. Donna Hardin says

    If I used Swerve, would I need the Stevia drops? I have the drops on hand…just curious.

    Tx. Can’t wait to try.


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